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Christmas in April April 22, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Christmas, Holidays, Kids, marriage, Procrastination, thoughts.
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Why is it so freaking difficult for me to box up and put away the Christmas stuff? Here it is the end of April and the stockings are still hung on the bookcase with care, the few ornaments I used last year and other items are still piled on the coffee table and all the boxes of decorations are sitting in plain view to the right of the TV where I put them weeks ago when I was filled with good intentions.

I know at least part of the answer is that I’m a procrastinator and a clutter-bug with selective vision. I simply don’t quite see what I don’t want to see. It’s rather easy for me to think and say I’ll get to that next weekend. And yet, how many weekends since New Years Day? I don’t think I’ll count them.

Bottom line, I just don’t want to address the memories. I’ve had quite a bit of success cleaning my life of the junk from my marriage. I have new furniture (especially a new bed and everything that comes with it), new location, new music, new friends, etc. I’ve gotten rid of or avoid the things that hold bad memories. If it makes me uncomfortable, I’ve moved on. But the Christmas stuff involves more than just me. These boxes also hold my kids’ memories and so I can’t sweep them into the trash.

Christmas is a time set apart from the rest of our life. The memories found there are segregated from the rest of the memories. It should be a magical time and opening the boxes of decorations each year should be a time of anticipation and joy. For me, the past few years opening these boxes has brought so much dread that for three years I avoided it completely and left the boxes buried in the garage. I’m reminded not so much of the bad times but of the bad man. My memories of Christmases Past are intertwined with memories of my ex. It’s like an inoperable tumor — I can’t cut out the bad memories without cutting out the joyful ones.

I may be dealing with selective memory here, but I don’t have many bad memories of Christmas.  Oh sure, there was stress and expectations, trying to do too much, trying to meet everyone’s needs–but I don’t remember many fights or much anger. Too much alcohol and dealing with a drunk guy– that I do remember that but then again, that was all the time, not just Christmas.  There are ornaments that remind me so much of my ex that I want to burn them, but I can’t get rid of them. I wonder what they might mean to my kids, if they have good memories attached that I have no right to erase.

In the eight years since he has been out of our lives I have spent little time facing the memories with my kids. I’ve come to terms with many things on my own and listened to them when they have wanted to talk, but rarely have we discussed it together. I’m still guarded, careful not to influence memories of their father. They know little of the details about what it was like to be married to him. I tell myself it’s not appropriate or important to share the indignities, the awful things he said. They know how he treated me at home and in public but don’t know what went on behind closed doors or how it all affected my core.

Today I am again choosing to delay dealing with the memories  However, I do have a day off work and my other plans fell through so I will finally get those boxes out of my line of sight. No sorting, culling, organizing or embracing the memories, simply box them up and put them in the closet. Maybe it’s denial but I prefer to think of it as healthy postponement. I’m not pretending this part of my life doesn’t need to be examined, I’m just not ready to face it. It is a difficult job to look my past life square in the face and I’m simply not up to it yet again.